Boston Consulting Group (BCG) shows that if women and men around the world participated equally as entrepreneurs, global GDP could ultimately rise by approximately three to six percent and boost the global economy by $2.5 trillion to $5 trillion. These numbers tell a clear story as to how closing the gender gap is crucial to global growth, but we also need to discuss how we support women on their path to success.
In January 2020, Mari-Anne Kehler, partner and chief marketing and strategy officer at GHJ, interviewed Gail Becker, the founder and CEO of Caulipower, at the 9th Annual Women in Corporate Growth Luncheon. While many people may have tried and enjoyed Caulipower’s delicious frozen pizzas, they might not be aware that last year Caulipower was ranked America’s 8th top selling frozen pizza brandand is sold in over 25,000 retailers. The company is over two years old and competing against multibillion-dollar companies.
Caulipower not only creates delicious products for its buyers, but also as Becker said at the luncheon, “it is about giving you more time.” Becker’s company’s time-saving crust gives consumers more time to focus on what inspires them, so they can build their businesses or spend time with their families rather than cooking. Additionally, Becker went into greater detail at the luncheon to discuss her journey and transformation to entrepreneur.
The Female Entrepreneur
Women in the Food Industry Special Reportby McKinsey & Company noted that C-suite women represent less than a fourth of the space, and within this group are few women of color. Women represented only 18 percent of the food industry’s C-suite executives in 2018, down from 23 percent in 2017. The report also discovered that women are 21 percent less likely than men to be promoted to manager, and black women are 40 percent less likely than men to be promoted to manager.
However, women hold 53 percent of entry-level positions, up from 49 percent last year. Even with this current state and the unknowns around the barriers to addressing gender inequity, the picture is not all bleak.
When Becker made the decision to leave her prior job, she wrote a blog called “Better to Say Oops than What If.” It is about the idea of really doing what one love no matter what people think. Becker even faced sexism as she marketed her business, with many people asking if her male counterpart at tradeshows was a co-founder. The gender bias that is still there surrounding female entrepreneurship is now brought to the forefront of the conversation so a shift in prospective can occur.
What Are You Waiting For?
During the interview, Becker mentioned, “Life is too short to wait.”
Take action and start now. The number of women-owned businesses increased nearly 3,000 percent since 1972 according to the 2018 State of Women-Owned Businesses Report commissioned by American Express. There is movement in the right direction, but conversations like this inspire and encourage business leaders to keep moving the needle.
“To grow your business, hire people that are smarter than you and ask for help,” Becker said.
This is true whether a person is an entrepreneur or working for a corporation in any industry. It takes collaboration and diversity of thought to really stand out in a time where there is over-saturation of media. Taking risks is essential when launching a business.
The U.S. has 12.3 million women-owned businesses, and more women today are turning to entrepreneurship to have more control over their future. Whether a person is an entrepreneur, executive or just starting his or her career, s/he should be passionate about his/her work, take risks and do what inspires and motivates him/her everyday.